Kids test business skills on Lemonade Day

Small businesses and small, as in “young,” business owners are the driving force behind Lemonade Day, a national event that occurs Saturday. Joining the million kids in 100 cities across the nation, Homer’s participants are not only smart-minded when it comes to developing their businesses, but are warmhearted when it comes to their earnings.

Hot beverages, homemade goodies, chili and some “spectacular sandhill crane figures” will be sold by The Birds of a Feather — comprised of Connections students and good friends Annalynn Brown, Teddy Handley, Jazlyn Fankhauser, Serena Fankhauser, Rachel Seneff and Ian Taylor — at their stand at the top of Homer Harbor’s Ramp 2.

With Kachemak Bay Shorebird Festival this weekend, the six youngsters decided serving something hot to drink and eat would be a perfect way for birders to ward off chilly temperatures. Choosing their location also required some careful planning. 

“We looked at the shorebird festival schedule and it had the most activities,” said Annalynn of selecting an area near the top of Ramp 2. “Then we talked to the harbormaster and he said it sounded great.”

They will be open at 7:30 a.m., another decision based on research.

“The first activity that day is at 8 a.m.,” said Teddy.

With weather as unpredictable as it has been this spring, The Birds of a Feather will situate two 30-inch-by-8-foot tables under a canopy tent for their protection and the comfort of their customers.

For the past two weeks, the youngsters have been putting their plan together and making the sandhill crane figures they will have on sale. Each uniquely posed figure will sell for $15-$20, with each of the six youngsters creating three.

“We’ve met every morning, four days a week,” said Teddy of the time each of the youngsters has committed to the business venture.

To fund their effort, each of the six partners invested $35. Once they recover their costs, they have committed half their proceeds to help their classmate and friend, Desmond VanLiere, who is recovering from heart surgery in Seattle.

For the second year, 9-year-old Hannah Vance is taking Lemonade Day literally. She will be selling raspberry lemonade during the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life of Homer garage sale at the gazebo behind Glacier View Baptist Church from 9 a.m.-1p.m. Saturday.

The popular beverage is made from raspberries Hannah picks and lemons she squeezes. Last year Hannah also sold brownies, but this year she has modified her treat selection to include Rice Krispie treats, peanut butter cookies and chocolate coconut macaroons, all of them gluten-free.

Also new this year is a tea that can be sampled or purchased loose-leaf in 2.5-ounce bags from Hannah. It was blended especially for Relay For Life and is available in Hannah’s grandmother’s teashop, Ivory Goose.

Last year, Hannah, who is a member of the Relay For Life Team Puppies, donated her earnings to the American Cancer Society fundraiser. Her donation totaled $480. She plans to do the same again this year. In addition to Saturday’s lemonade stand, she also will be selling lemonade and treats in front of Ulmer’s between 10 a.m.-1 p.m. on May 25 and June 1, the two Saturdays preceding the June 7-8 Relay.

“This year she’s experienced and knows what she wants,” said her mother, Sara. “It touches my heart because she doesn’t want to make anything. She wants it all for Relay. I hope she’s able to be a good example to others.”

Lemonade Day was founded in 2007 by Michael Holthouse in Houston, Texas. Holthouse had a vision of empowering youth to become future entrepreneurs by helping them start, own and operate their own business. In includes a 14-step process that begins with a dream, progresses to developing a business plan and includes steps for making a successful business. 

Coordinating the event in Homer is Debbie Speakman, the membership manager of the Homer Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center.

“We help the kids register, set up workshops with Wells Fargo, one of the main state sponsors, and then, on the actual day, we will put a map out showing where the stands are so people can visit them,” said Speakman.

This year the Homer chamber received 100 Lemonade Day backpacks filled with information for the youngsters and for parent or someone advising the youngsters. 

“This is not just a day’s work,” said Speakman. “These kids are preparing and putting in some really good work.”

For more about Lemonade Day, call the Homer Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center at 235-7740 or visit